What is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is row-days recognised as a core leadership capability. It is sometimes referred to as EI or EQ and encompasses the ability to perceive, manage and understand the emotions of one-self and also other people. Along with this ability comes a greater awareness of how feelings can influence the goals, intentions and behaviour of people.
Leading psychologist and New York Times science writer Dr. Daniel Goleman, wrote a best-selling book titled “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ” In his book, Goleman describes interviews with successful business leaders who acknowledge that their technical expertise and their problem solving skills contributed to their early career progression. However they believed a much more important capability that underpinned their career success was the ability to build productive relationships with people and make connections with them.
EI is a different type of intelligence; it has been described as being "heart smart" rather than just "book smart". You may know of some people who are technically brilliant but socially inept. The development of EI is crucial to leading a balanced, successful and happy life.
The Components of Emotional Intelligence
One EI model identifies six different components of emotional intelligence:
- Knowing your emotions. With self-awareness, you are able to recognise how you feel about any given situation that you are faced with. This means you would be able to identify early signs that you are becoming stressed, for example
- Expressing your emotions. This is the ability to constructively let other people know how you are feeling - whether you are concerned, anxious, annoyed, embarrassed, hurt - rather than bottling such feelings up
- Managing your own emotions. This means you can exercise control over your emotions, sometimes choosing to put a feeling aside until a more suitable time and place is available for you to deal with it. This is not the same as suppressing a feeling, which can be a form of denial
- Motivating yourself. The ability to pick yourself up if you are down, and get yourself positive, focused and energised towards a goal
- Recognising and understanding other people's emotions. This requires you to be attentive to more than just what people are saying – their body language may communicate their feelings more accurately than what their words do. And once you are sensitive to what they may be feeling, can you then understand and reason why they may be feeling the way they do. It is this ability that will enable you to build rapport with others.
- Managing relationships by positively managing the emotions of others. This is crucial if you are going to be able to bring the best out of people. You need to understand what motivates them and what they care about, so that you can engage them in working towards common goals.
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